23 Brilliant Hacks to Help You Weather Winter

Preparing for winter doesn’t have to be a chore! Read on for 23 fun and fast DIY ways to keep your home warm and weatherproof, no matter what the season brings.

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  1. Slick Solution


    Still breaking your back shoveling snow from the driveway? Make faster work by coating both sides of a shovel blade with non-stick cooking spray. Dig into the slush, and voila! Snow, ice, and other wintry offenders will slide off the shovel—and off your back—for good.

    Related: Bob Vila's January "Must Do" Projects


  2. Open Door Policy


    Leaving cabinet doors ajar may look untidy to some ways of thinking, but temporarily ignoring your inner neat freak could save you from winter's biggest mess of all: frozen pipes. Opening cabinet doors, especially those undersink units where water pipes are present, lets warm air circulate, ultimately helping to prevent pipes from freezing.

    Related: 10 Kitchen Updates You Can Do in a Day


  3. Dodge the Draft


    If you feel a cold draft beneath a door, don’t wait until you receive a sky-high heating bill before you insulate it with a DIY draft snake. Roll up mats, rugs, or socks and squeeze them into doorway cracks to put a stopper on air leaks.

    Related: 15 Old House Features We Were Wrong to Abandon

    Flickr via mncerts and Wakefield Photography

  4. Bubble the Trouble


    In addition to protecting packages, bubble wrap can also be used to trap escaping air from windows. Cut bubble wrap to size, spray a film of water onto the window, and press the bubble wrap onto the window pane to bid adieu to winter window pains.

    Related: 7 New Ways to Use Old Windows


  5. Leading Light


    Traipsing through the dark with candle in hand may sound medieval, but to this day it remains an effective way to locate the source of a cold draft. With a store-bought or homemade candle, examine cold window and door frames. If the flame flickers, a draft is nearby!

    Related: Quick Tip—Detect Air Leaks for Only $1


  6. Pipe Dream


    Even sturdy pipes succumb to freezing or bursting in the dead of winter. A liberal coat of WD-40 on the exteriors and joints of pipes and taps both indoors and outdoors can help prevent freezing damage, and even set stuck taps loose again.

    Related: 7 Ways to Avoid Winter's Worst Home Disaster


  7. Comfort on Hand


    Piping hot rice isn’t just a hearty dinner staple in winter, but a hand-warming essential, too. You can easily create your own by filling fabric pouches with rice and blanket-stitching them together. Once microwaved, you’ll definitely want to cozy up to these hand warmers!

    Related: 11 Ways to Winterize Your Home on a Budget


  8. Under Lock and Key


    Even the best car alarm and security system can’t keep winter's worst intruder from freezing your car door lock shut. If this happens to you, don’t panic; whip out a can of WD-40 and liberally spray the lock to instantly free your door and yourself from Old Man Winter.

    Related: 10 Things a Burglar Doesn't Want You to Know


  9. Break the Ice


    When a scraper and elbow grease alone don’t cut through the ice on your frozen car windows or doors, prepare an old spray bottle filled with 2/3 part vinegar (any variety) and 1/3 part water. Then, spray those icy surfaces and watch them clear up before your eyes!

    Related: 8 Quick Tips for Solving Winter Woes

    Youtube via GreenTipGuy

  10. In the Bag


    If you're expecting heavy snow and sleet but can't pull into the car park, use a ziplock bag to protect your car. Secure a large bag to the side mirrors and then secure them with rubber bands or clothespins. You’ll wake up to ice-free mirrors—and a stress-free morning commute!

    Related: 11 Seriously Surprising Uses for a Ziplock Bag


  11. Cat Call


    Having a feline friend can work to your advantage when your car is stuck in the snow. A box of cat litter stored in the trunk or below the driving tires of your car will not only add the weight needed to help dislodge a snowbound vehicle, but after shoveling away snow from tires, the cat litter can lend a helping paw in creating additional traction.

    Related: 10 Astonishing Feats You Can Accomplish with Kitty Litter


  12. Fan Out


    Even DIYers who turn their clocks like clockwork forget the other important bi-annual tradition of turning their ceiling fans to optimize energy use. Run your fan clockwise to circulate warm air in winter. After the sun sets on the season, reverse the direction of the fan again!

    Related: 9 Sneaky Ways to Cut Your Home Heating Bills

    Flickr via dharma_for_one

  13. Foiled Again


    Don’t let a tight budget foil your plans to winterize the home! Place bargain tin foil or a similarly reflective, heat-resistant material behind your radiator or space heater. The foil will reflect the heat—and warmth—back, so that you stay warm and save a bundle on your energy bill.

    Related: 11 Surprising Uses for Aluminum Foil


  14. Boot Camp


    You don’t have to brave the bad weather and long shopping lines to snag a pair of slip-proof snow boots. Using this Instructables tutorial, fasten a T-plate with screw bolts to the base of boots you already own. After calling for reinforcements from zinc wire, you’ll be on solid footing no matter the weather!

    Related: 12 Ways to Check Slush and Snow at the Door

    Instructables via KresimirPregernik

  15. Swept Off Your Feet


    The fleetest of feet don’t use a shovel to clear snow from their steps or driveway at a glacial pace. Light snow accumulations can easily be swept away on demand with a broom—keeping backbreaking labor, slips, and falls at bay all winter!

    Related: 8 Cleaning Mistakes Everyone Makes


  16. Pill-Free Remedy


    Known as sweater pills, the pesky clumps that form on your winter wardrobe rob make good clothes look old before their time. Fortunately, by using a shaving razor or sharp knife on a flattened surface, you can permanently cut the cord on fabric pills!

    Related: 8 "Zero Dollar" Laundry Room Hacks

    Instructables via kelleymarie

  17. Fill Your Boots


    Why hide away the pool noodles until summer when they can give your drooping boots a lift this winter? If you don't have pool noodles, roll up an old magazine; then, secure with a rubber band and slip them into your boots to make them stand up straight.

    Related: Organize Closets with 11 Things You Already Own


  18. Back East


    You don’t have to be a Feng Shui expert to adopt eastern wisdom into your parking ritual—simply park facing the east! The increased sun exposure will help prevent snow and ice accumulation so that you’ll have a warmer journey home.

    Related: 30 Things Every Homeowner Should Know How to Do

    Flickr via ray

  19. Lift the Curtain


    Drawing the curtains shut all winter is a surefire way to reduce light and warmth while increasing the likelihood of cabin fever. Open curtains in high-traffic living areas by day to combat cold, dreary spells with the natural light, warmth, and energy of the sun.

    Related: 8 Bright Ideas to Boost Natural Light


  20. Get a Grip


    Silently lurking on sidewalks and driveways, ice is an unseen threat to the safety of you and your family members. Fortunately, you can heat traction grit in the oven for fifteen minutes and then apply it to the pavement to melt away ice—and your winter worries!

    Related: The Gear You Need to Fight the Worst of Winter

    Youtube via Michael Kannon

  21. Citrus Flambé


    The secret to this aromatic DIY kindling is as simple as it is appealing. Remove and dry orange peels, then substitute them for newspaper to create a roaring firestarter and chimney cleaner in one!

    Related: 12 Ways to Clean House with Citrus


  22. Good News


    If you’re a few logs shy of a fire, gather several stacks of scrap newspaper and roll them into faux firewood logs as in this tutorial. Secured with tape and rebar wire, these hearty and hefty logs can burn for over seven hours!

    Related: 14 Bad Habits That Could Burn Down Your House

    Youtube via The Crazies

  23. Melting Pot


    For an efficient and affordable DIY space heater, overturn a terra cotta pot atop a ceramic tile base. Light a couple small candles on the heat-proof tile to invite the warmth and tradition of the old world into the modern home.

    Related: 6 Steps to a Cozy Winter Home

    Youtube via Tiny House Listings

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